The International Olympic Committee granted provisional recognition status to the Federation of International Lacrosse during the IOC Executive Board meeting Friday in Tokyo.
“I can’t think of a more significant milestone in the sport’s history,” said Steve Stenersen, CEO of US Lacrosse and vice president of the FIL. “This decision is a wonderful recognition of the efforts of so many individuals throughout the world whose commitment and passion over many years has positioned our sport for this moment. IOC recognition will strengthen the profile of lacrosse in all FIL member countries and propel the sport to greater expansion throughout the world. Additionally, it will strengthen the relationship between US Lacrosse and the United States Olympic Committee.”
The vote does not guarantee inclusion in the Olympic Games, but is a major step towards reaching the long-awaited dream of many lacrosse fans around the world.
The sport’s history in the Olympics dates to 1904 — it was conducted as a medal sport in 1904 and 1908 and was a demonstration sport in the 1928, 1932 and 1948 Olympic Games.
The IOC recognition is the latest big accomplishment for the FIL in recent years. In 2012, the FIL was formally accepted into SportAccord, the umbrella organization for all Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations.
In July 2017, lacrosse was conducted as a championship sport at The World Games in Wroclaw, Poland, the first time the sport was included in the quadrennial event which dates back to 1981. The U.S. women’s team defeated Canada to win the inaugural gold medal.
Both men’s and women’s lacrosse competitions will be held when The World Games come to Birmingham, Ala., in 2021.
The FIL submitted a 150-page application to the IOC last year and received the long-awaited news Friday morning. The FIL was one of three organizations granted this status, joining the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations and the Federation Internationale de Sambo.
The FIL was formed in 2008 as a result of a merger between the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse Associations and the International Lacrosse Federation. Following the addition of Ecuador and Ukraine earlier this year, the FIL now numbers 62 member nations and conducts five international championships, each rotating on a quadrennial basis.
— Story courtesy of US Lacrosse